Employees at Stimulus-Funded Battery Plant Play Cards and Board Games Because There's No Work

Here's your tax dollars at work.

Target 8 in Michigan reported Thursday that employees at the stimulus-funded LG Chem lithium-ion battery plant in Holland have so little to do that they spend their time playing cards and board games:

"There would be up to 40 of us that would just sit in there during the day," said former LG Chem employee Nicole Merryman, who said she quit in May.

"We were given assignments to go outside and clean; if we weren't cleaning outside, we were cleaning inside. If there was nothing for us to do, we would study in the cafeteria, or we would sit and play cards, sit and read magazines," said Merryman. "It's really sad that all these people are sitting there and doing nothing, and it's basically on taxpayer money."

Two current employees told Target 8 that the game-playing continues because, as much as they want to work, they still have nothing to do.

"There's a whole bunch of people, a whole bunch," filling their time with card games and board games," one of those current employees said.

GM-Volt.com reported in July 2010:

President Obama visited Holland Michigan on Thursday to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony of the new LG Chem battery plant. This plant was funded in part by a DOE stimulus grant of $151 million with a matching $151 million provided by LG Chem. Once fully operational in 2012, the plant will be capable of producing enough cells for 200,000 hybrids and electric cars, and will specifically be making the cells both for the Chevrolet Volt and the upcoming Ford Focus Electric, expected to go on sale in 2011.

“This is about more than just building a new factory,” said Obama. “It’s about building a better future for this city, for this state, and for this country.” [...]

The 650,000 square foot LG Chem plant is expected to produce 300 jobs.

“The workers at this plant, already slated to produce batteries for the new Chevy Volt, learned the other day that they’re also going to be supplying batteries for the new electric Ford Focus as soon as this operation gears up,” said Obama. “That means that by 2012, the batteries will be manufactured here in Holland, Michigan. So when you buy one of these vehicles, the battery could be stamped “Made in America” -– just like the car.”

Or maybe not. The Holland Sentinel reported in August of this year:

LG Chem Michigan Inc. has had employees stay home from work on "rolling furloughs" since late April and plans to continue doing so until there's more demand for their product.

"The furloughs are the result of a re-timing of the start of battery cell production as the electric vehicle market develops," the company said in a statement sent to The Sentinel.

LG Chem said it had notified its Holland employees on Thursday that the furloughs, which began April 30, would continue. Production engineers, operators and office staff at the company will work three-fourths of their regular schedule.

The company in July said about 200 people were employed at the plant.

Employees' health care benefits programs will remain intact, and employees will be eligible for unemployment benefits while they are not working, according to LG Chem.

Your tax dollars at work. 

Barack Obama
Noel Sheppard's picture